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A JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE 
FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH 


Econ Journal Watch 
Volume 8, Number 2 
May 2011,126-146 


Economics Professors’ Favorite 
Economic Thinkers, Journals, and 
Blogs (along with Party and Policy 

Views) 


William L. Davis 1 , Bob Figgins 2 , David Hedengren 3 , 
and Daniel B. Klein 4 


Link to Abstract 

We sent a survey to economics professors through out the United States, and 
299 returned a completed survey. The survey asked about favorites in the following 
areas: 

• economic thinkers 


who wrote prior to the twentieth century 
of the twentieth century, now deceased 
alive today 


• age 60 or over 

• under the age of 60 


• economics journals 

• economics blogs 


1. Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, TN 38238. 

2. Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, TN 38238. 

3. Graduate student, Department of Economics, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030. 

4. Professor of Economics, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030. 

For funding of the survey, we thank the College of Business and Global Affairs at the University of 
Tennessee-Martin. For helpful comments we thank Niclas Berggren, Jason Briggeman, and Arnold 
Kling. 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


126 



DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Other questions, as well, were asked, but it is those about favorites that make 
the focus of the present paper. We relate those responses to party-voting and a 
score on a policy index based on 17 policy questions. 

First-place positions as favorite economist in their respective categories are 
Adam Smith (by far), John Maynard Keynes followed closely by Milton Friedman, 
Gary Becker, and Paul Krugman. For journals, the leaders are American Economic 
Review and journal of Economic Perspectives. For blogs, the leaders are Greg Mankiw 
followed closely by Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok). 

We report the results without any elaborate interpretation. We draw no 
particular inference, nor push one on the reader. We do not relate our results to any 
existing hypothesis, nor develop hypotheses of our own. We have posted online the 
survey instrument, cover letter, and Excel files pertaining to this paper (link). The 
survey included questions not used here. - ' Those questions will be used in future 
papers. At present we refrain from posting the raw data but expect to by February 
2012 . 


The Conducting of the Survey 

We embarked on the survey from a variety of motivations, reflected by the 
varied questions it contains. Working from their home institution at the Martin 
campus of the University of Tennessee, William Davis and Bob Figgins arranged 
the funding for the survey and handled the mailing, receiving, and data entry. The 
survey instrument itself was designed and written by Davis and Daniel Klein. After 
collecting the data, the team recruited David Hedengren for his data skills. 

To create a list of 300 economics departments, we used a ranking of in¬ 
stitutions by Tom Coupe (undated), supplemented by a ranking by Grijalva and 
Nowell (2008). Those sources generated a list of 141 departments. We then sup¬ 
plemented the list with an additional 159 departments from Christian Zimmer- 
mann’s listing of economics departments (link), thus making a list of 300 
departments in all. Details of the procedure are available in of the Excel sheet con¬ 
taining the list of 300 economics departments (link —see the comment at cell Al). 

Using the website of each of the departments, William Davis and his as¬ 
sistants generated a random list of 2000 individual professors (tenure-track, as¬ 
sistant to full professors, excluding emeriti) belonging to the 300 departments, in 
proportion to the size of the department. Thus, the assembly of the mailing list is 


5. Of the questions not used in the present paper, the most notable are those that ask about efficiency and 
cost-benefit analysis, about the propriety of an economist disclosing his own ideological sensibilities, about 
how the respondent would label himself ideologically, and about membership in different professional 
economics associations. 


127 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 



ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


original, not based on association lists. At the end of March 2010, Davis mailed 
out the surveys, and later a reminder postcard. Over the next several weeks, a 
completed survey was sent back by 299 respondents. Adjusting for a fairly small 
number of PO returns and the like, the response rate was 15.2 percent (that is, 
299/1969). Possible factors for the disappointingly low response may include the 
following: (1) The survey was six pages and involved complex philosophical 
questions; (2) it asked about policy views and voting; (3) economists are growing 
tired of responding to surveys. 

A response rate of only 15.2 percent heightens the usual concerns about 
response bias. The party-voting results conform neatly to those of other surveys (as 
noted below), and the women percentages are close for addressees (21.2 percent 
women) 6 and respondents (19.3 percent women). 7 The mailings numbered 2000, 
so even with the low response rate we have 299 responses, which, supposing no 
serious response bias, would certainly be enough to form an accurate repre¬ 
sentation of the population of U.S. economics professors. 

The mean age of our 299 respondents is about 59, and the median 58, so the 
group is older than one might expect. Of the 299 respondents, 239 were men, 57 
women, and 3 did not report gender. 

The Party-Voting and Policy-Views Variables 

Before reporting the results on favorites, we explain two variables used in our 
reporting. These variables are useful in characterizing the kinds of economists that 
a favorite appeals to. These variables reveal, for example, that admiration for Adam 
Smith is ideologically diverse. 

The party-voting question appeared as follows: 

To which political party have the candidates you’ve voted 

for in the past ten years mostiy belonged? 

□ □ □ □ _ 

Democratic Green Libertarian Republican other 


The results, shown in Table 1, are in line with previous literature on the 
party leanings of U.S. economists. 8 —a fact that helps us to discount worries of a 
response bias of an ideological sort. 


6. That is, 424 women addressees, of2000 total addressees. 

7. That is, 57 women respondents, of 296 respondents who reported gender. 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


128 



DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 1: Party-voting and Liberalism Score 


Party 

Count 

% of the 299 

Average 
liberalism 
score (s.d.) 

Democratic 

168.67 

56.4% 

1.95 (0.60) 

Green 

5.17 

1.7% 

1.57 (0.61) 

Libertarian 

16.00 

5.4% 

3.49 (0.39) 

Republican 

61.83 

20.7% 

2.71 (0.56) 

“Other” checked but nothing written 

11.33 

3.8% 

2.77 (0.72) 

Cannot vote 

11.00 

3.7% 

2.48 (0.89) 

Choose not to vote 

3.00 

1.0% 

3.25 (0.66) 

No answer 

22.00 

7.4% 

2.16 (0.89) 

All 

299 

100% 

2.27 (0.76) 

(#Dem + #Gr) / (#Rep. + # Lib. + 0.1) = 2.23 


Note : Someone who, for example, checked Democratic, Green, and Republican was counted as 


0.33 each. 

In reporting the results on favorites, we will use the following party-voting 
index: (#Democratic + #Green)/(#Republican + #Libertarian + 0.1). The “+ 
0.1” appearing in the denominator is there to solve the problem that arises when it 
is otherwise zero. In reading the reporting that follows, when you see a party-ratio 
score that is wildly large, it is because there is nothing in the denominator except 
the 0.1. Crudely speaking, the index is the ratio of Left to Right. As shown in the 
bottom row of Table 1, the Left to Right ratio within the entire sample is 2.23. 

The second variable comes from the policy-view questions. All of them took 
the form shown here: 

Higher minimum wages: 


□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

□ 

support 

strongly 

support, 

not 

strongly 

neutral 

oppose, 

not 

strongly 

oppose 

strongly 

have 

no 

opinion 


8. The data on faculty party affiliation (and ideological views generally), from surveys and voter-registration 
studies, are summarized in Klein and Stern (2009). For data from 1999 thru 2007 (pp. 16,22), the Democrat 
to Republican ratio for economics professors ranges by study from 1.6 to 4.3, with the most reliable studies 
putting it in the range of 2.1 to 3.0. Realize that questions differ in wording, and a survey question is 
different from actual voter registration. The Democrat-to-Republican ratio found here, 2.73, is probably a 
good number to use—though it is noteworthy that in our survey the Libertarian voters are more than the 
usual droplet. 


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VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 














ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


The question posits a reform that ratchets up restrictions on individual 
liberty or that expands tax-funded government activism. 9 The respondent is asked 
to mark his position over the responses ranging from “support strongly” to 
“oppose strongly”. The 17 reforms follow: 

1. Higher minimum wages 

2. Tighter restrictions (e.g., tariffs and quotas) on imported goods 

3. Tighter requirements for the permitting of new pharmaceuticals and 
medical devices 

4. Tighter restrictions on private parties engaging in discrimination (on 
the basis of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion or sexual-orientation) 
against other private parties, in employment or accommodations 

5. Tighter restrictions on the buying and selling of human organs 

6. Tighter workplace safety regulation (e.g., by the Occupational Safety 
and Health Administration (OSHA)) 

7. Tighter air-quality and water-quality regulation (e.g., by the Env. 
Protection Ag. (EPA)) 

8. Tighter requirements on occupational licensing 

9. Tighter restrictions on prostitution 

10. Tighter restrictions on gambling 

11. Tighter controls on immigration 

12. Tighter restrictions on adult women having an abortion 

13. Tighter restrictions on “hard” drugs such as cocaine and heroin 

14. More redistribution (e.g., transfer and aid programs and tax 
progressivity) 

15. More funding of the public school system 

16. More benefits and coverage by Medicaid 

17. More American military aid or presence abroad to promote democracy 
and the rule of law 

We scored the responses to create for each respondent a liberalism score of 
domain [0, 4], that is, “support strongly” was scored as 0, “support, not strongly” 
as 1, “neutral” as 2, “oppose, not strongly” as 3, and “oppose strongly” as 4 (and 
“have no opinion” as missing data, not as “neutral”). Using the term liberalism in 


9. A respondent might, for example, strongly oppose raising the minimum wage, and yet not favor reducing 
the minimum wage. We are scoring that respondent in the same way as one who strongly opposes raising 
the minimum wage and indeed favors reducing the minimum wage. In retrospect, we think that it would 
have been better to have framed each policy question as done by Daniel Stastny (2010), such that, for 
example, the respondent would be asked whether the minimum wage should be raised/tightened, stay the 
same, or reduced/liberalized. That framing captures the respondent’s preference for reform on either side of 
the status quo, whereas our framing captures intensity on only one side. Our framing surely tracks Stastny’s 
superior framing, but still we regret not using the superior framing. 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


130 



DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


its original or classical sense, we say, the higher the score the more liberal the 
respondent. We are aware of the gray areas, the semantic controversies, and the 
other controversies (“Doesn’t abortion violate the liberty of the fetus?,” “What 
about when immigrants support interventionist policies?,”; “Doesn’t the Amer¬ 
ican military promote liberty abroad?”), but we simply exercise our judgment 10 
and move on. The final column of Table 1 shows the mean liberalism score for 
the various party-voting categories. As expected, Green voters are least liberal, 
Libertarian voters are most liberal, and Democrat and Republican voters are in 
between. 

Table 2 shows the results by gender. The findings are in line with what 
researchers usually find, * 11 that women are less liberal and more Democratic than 
men. 


Table 2: Party Ratio and Average Liberalism Score, by 
Gender 



N 

% of 299 

Party ratio 

Average 
liberalism 
score (s.d.) 

Men 

239 

80.0% 

2.00 

2.33 (0.75) 

Women 

57 

19.1% 

3.8 

2.02 (0.75) 

Declined to report gender 

3 

1.0% 

1 

2.61 (1.22) 

All 

299 

100.0% 

2.23 

2.27 (0.76) 


Economics Professors’ Favorite Economic 

Thinkers 


Are there any economic thinkers who wrote prior to the twentieth 
century whom you regard with great respect, admiration, or reverence? 
If so, please list, up to three: 


10. In as much as any of these reforms point up possible disagreements between what Klein and Clark 
(2010) distinguish as direct liberty and overall liberty, in constructing the liberalism index we are following 
direct liberty. This practice is not to deny such disagreements, but it does imply that we do not think that 
the disagreements are very many and/or significant. Political discourse proceeds on the basis of “by and 
large.” 

11. It is well established (see e.g. Norrander and Wilcox 2008) that, at least in the United States, women 
are, on average, more interventionist and Democratic. That women economists are, relative to men econ¬ 
omists, more interventionist is indicated clearly by May and Whaples (2010), Stastny (2010, 284-85), and 
Hedengren et al. (2010,310). 


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VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 









ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


First: Adam Smi-fh 
Second: 1lavid Ricardo 
Third: Alfred Marshall 

In this case, we awarded Smith six points, Ricardo five points, and Marshall 
four points. Using such scoring we get the results shown in Figure 1. 

Figure 1: 17 Favorite Pre-Twentieth Century economists 



Perhaps no one is surprised, but that a man who died in 1790 would tower 
over the field of all economic thinkers working principally prior to 1900 the way 
Smith does here is really something. Footnotes detail how we fit an economist to 
a question (for example, Alfred Marshall as pre-twentieth century) 12 and how we 
decided how many economists to display in a figure and a table. 13 

Table 3 shows the top 17 economists, along with the associated party-ratio 
and liberalism scores of the associated respondents. 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


132 





DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 3: 17 Favorite Pre-Twentieth Century economists, with 
Respondent Political Variables 




N 

Mentions 

% of 299 

Total points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

Smith, Adam 

221 

73.9% 

1265 

2.0 

2.36 (0.76) 

2 

Ricardo, David 

106 

35.5% 

520 

2.0 

2.27 (0.74) 

3 

Marshall, Alfred 

67 

22.4% 

329 

1.7 

2.33 (0.70) 

4 

Mill, John Stuart 

56 

18.7% 

274 

3.1 

2.04 (0.73) 

5 

Marx, Karl 

47 

15.7% 

225 

20.3 

1.70 (0.62) 

6 

Malthus, Thomas 

24 

8.0% 

114 

1.5 

2.39 (0.84) 

7 

Walras, Leon 

15 

5% 

73 

2.9 

2.33 (0.56) 

8 

Hume, David 

12 

4.0% 

60 

5.5 

2.45 (0.55) 

9 

Pareto, Vilfredo 

12 

4.0% 

52 

8.2 

2.58 (0.83) 

10 

Bastiat, Frederic 

8 

2.7% 

40 

0.2 

3.33 (0.41) 

11 

Cournot, August 

7 

2.3% 

36 

3.6 

2.57 (0.39) 

12 

Menger, Carl 

7 

2.3% 

32 

0.5 

3.50 (0.57) 

13 

Wicksell, Knut 

5 

1.7% 

24 

2.7 

2.41 (1.16) 

14 

Say, J.B. 

4 

1.3% 

20 

0.3 

2.75 (0.16) 

15 

Jevons, W.S. 

4 

1.3% 

19 

1.8 

2.63 (1.13) 

16 

Edgeworth, Francis 

4 

1.3% 

18 

1.0 

2.65 (0.39) 

17 

Thunen, J.H. von 

4 

1.3% 

18 

0.5 

2.58 (0.58) 


We see that the admirers of Adam Smith—221 of the entire sample of 
299—have a party ratio of 2.0, which is only a little below the sample average 
of 2.23, and an average liberalism score of 2.36 which is only slightly above the 
sample mean of 2.27. It is unsurprising that the admirers of Karl Marx are more 
Democratic and less liberal. Carl Menger, were he to see the results, would no 
doubt be surprised that his admirers are more plumb-line free-marketeers than are 


12. To deal with the problem that Alfred Marshall was treated as pre-twentieth by some and twentieth by 
others, and all similar problems, we first applied a mechanical rule that if an economist had more than three 
times as many points for one question as for the bordering question, all of the latter points were shifted to 
the former question. In the still divided cases, we simply researched the matter so as to assign all the points 
to the correct category (that is, whether deceased/60 years old as of April 2010), and made judgment calls 
on the century question, for example making Marshall pre-twentieth and Veblen twentieth. Thus we have 
effectively assisted the respondent in properly categorizing the admired economist. 

13. We wanted to limit the number of items displayed in a figure to less than twenty, to preserve readability, 
and we chose a cut-off based on a suitable number of mentions, as opposed to total score. In the tables we 
include all items receiving at least four mentions. The Excel file shows all results, down to a single mention. 


133 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 





















ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


the admirers of Frederic Bastiat. Data on all economists mentioned, down to those 
receiving a single mention, are available in the Excel file (link) . 

Are there any economic thinkers of the twentieth century and noiv deceased 
whom you regard with great respect, admiration, or reverence? If so, 
please list, up to three: 

First: John Maynard, fieynez 

Second: Mit-fcn f-riecLman 

Third: Paul Samwe/son 

Flere, Keynes would get six points, Friedman five points, and Samuelson 
four points. The top 14 of the twentieth century, now deceased, are shown in 
Figure 2. 

Figure 2:14 Favorite Twentieth-Century economists, de¬ 
ceased 



VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


134 











DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 4 shows the top 24 economists of the twentieth century, now de¬ 
ceased, along with the associated party-voting and liberalism score of the associated 
respondents. 

Table 4: 24 Favorite Twentieth-Century economists, de¬ 
ceased, with Respondent Political Variables 




N 

Mentions 

% of 299 

Total points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

Keynes, J.M. 

134 

44.8% 

726 

4.6 

1.96 (0.61) 

2 

Friedman, Milton 

124 

41.5% 

654 

0.8 

2.66 (0.68) 

3 

Samuelson, Paul 

90 

30.1% 

460 

4.4 

2.16 (0.57) 

4 

Hayek, Friedrich 

44 

14.7% 

216 

0.5 

2.97 (0.64) 

5 

Schumpeter, Jos. 

31 

10.4% 

138 

2.1 

2.37 (0.71) 

6 

Galbraith, John K. 

22 

7.4% 

107 

6.7 

1.50 (0.48) 

7 

Veblen, Thorstein 

22 

7.4% 

103 

4.6 

1.67 (0.70) 

8 

Stigler, George 

22 

7.4% 

102 

0.5 

2.85 (0.59) 

9 

Robinson, Joan 

18 

6.0% 

89 

9.1 

1.58 (0.65) 

10 

Tobin, James 

12 

4.0% 

55 

2.5 

2.09 (0.55) 

11 

Hicks, John 

10 

3.3% 

50 

2.9 

1.91 (0.79) 

12 

Fisher, Irving 

10 

3.3% 

41 

1.3 

2.48 (0.65) 

13 

Boulding, Kenneth 

7 

2.3% 

35 

2.4 

2.16 (0.75) 

14 

Mises, Ludwig von 

7 

2.3% 

35 

0.0 

3.41 (0.51) 

15 

Hotelling, Harold 

6 

2.0% 

30 

1.0 

2.62 (0.77) 

16 

Polanyi, Karl 

5 

1.7% 

29 

50.0 

1.77 (1.14) 

17 

Granger, Clive 

6 

2.0% 

27 

1.0 

2.62 (0.77) 

18 

Pigou, Arthur 

6 

2.0% 

26 

6.2 

2.29 (0.45) 

19 

Olson, Mancur 

5 

1.7% 

25 

1.6 

2.00 (0.76) 

20 

Griliches, Zvi 

5 

1.7% 

22 

3.6 

2.01 (0.77) 

21 

Leontief, Wassily 

4 

1.3% 

21 

20.0 

1.49 (0.34) 

22 

Minsky, Hyman 

4 

1.3% 

21 

30.0 

1.09 (0.10) 

23 

Simon, Herbert 

4 

1.3% 

20 

1.6 

2.19 (0.51) 

24 

Hurwicz, Leonid 

4 

1.3% 

19 

10.0 

2.75 (0.46) 


Of those with at least 10 mentions, we see that most liberal admirers are those 
of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and the least liberal admirers are those of 
John K. Galbraith, Joan Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. 


135 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 



























ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


Are there any economic thinkers alive today over the age of 60/under the 
age of 60 whom you regard with great respect, admiration, or reverence? 
If so, please list, up to three: 


Economist over the 
age of 60 

First: <3-ary Becker 

Second: KenneJ-h Arrotd 
Third: Rcheri So/ohj 


Economist under the 
age of 60 

Pax/t f\rv^ma.n 

<Srre£ MankiuJ 

Z>a.ron Acemos/u 


The top 19 over-60 living economists are shown in Figure 3, and the top 26 
over-60 living economists are listed in Table 5, along with associated party-voting 
and liberalism scores. 

Figure 3:19 Favorite Living economists Age 60 or Older 



VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


136 




DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 5: 26 Favorite Living economists, Age 60 or Older, 
with Respondent Political Variables 




N 

Mentions 

% of 299 

Total points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

Becker, Gary 

65 

21.7% 

353 

0.9 

2.56 (0.67) 

2 

Arrow, Kenneth 

41 

13.7% 

226 

16.6 

2.08 (0.57) 

3 

Solow, Robert 

35 

11.7% 

188 

5.5 

2.09 (0.55) 

4 

Coase, Ronald 

29 

9.7% 

144 

0.5 

3.01 (0.79) 

5 

Stiglitz, Joseph 

28 

9.4% 

144 

250.0 

1.77 (0.60) 

6 

Sen, Amartya 

25 

8.4% 

128 

6.7 

1.65 (0.42) 

7 

Lucas, Robert 

24 

8.0% 

124 

1.0 

2.61 (0.54) 

8 

Buchanan, James 

20 

6.7% 

104 

0.1 

3.25 (0.55) 

9 

Heckman, James 

19 

6.4% 

97 

2.0 

2.49 (0.55) 

10 

Akerlof, George 

17 

5.7% 

83 

2.7 

1.98 (0.53) 

11 

North, Douglas 

14 

4.7% 

73 

1.0 

2.75 (0.75) 

12 

Smith, Vernon 

9 

3.0% 

49 

4.7 

2.16 (0.42) 

13 

Nash, John 

8 

2.7% 

42 

2.2 

2.32 (0.68) 

14 

McFadden, Daniel 

7 

2.3% 

39 

50.0 

1.83 (0.52) 

15 

Sowell, Thomas 

6 

2.0% 

32 

0.0 

3.17 (0.24) 

16 

Feldstein, Martin 

6 

2.0% 

31 

0.5 

2.72 (0.65) 

17 

Alchian, Armen 

6 

2.0% 

28 

0.0 

3.32 (0.46) 

18 

Fogel, Robert 

6 

2.0% 

28 

1.4 

2.6 (0.62) 

19 

Tullock, Gordon 

6 

2.0% 

28 

0.0 

3.58 (0.52) 

20 

Blinder, Alan 

5 

1.7% 

24 

50.0 

1.64 (0.49) 

21 

Sargent, Tom 

5 

1.7% 

24 

30.0 

2.13 (0.52) 

22 

Schelling, Thomas 

5 

1.7% 

23 

3.6 

2.39 (0.35) 

23 

Barro, Robert 

4 

1.3% 

22 

0.9 

2.71 (0.55) 

24 

Romer, Paul 

4 

1.3% 

22 

2.7 

2.44 (0.76) 

25 

Spence, Michael 

4 

1.3% 

22 

0.3 

2.44 (0.82) 

26 

Freeman, Richard 

4 

1.3% 

20 

40.0 

2.04 (0.74) 


Of those with at least 14 mentions (the next position drops to nine 
mentions), we see that the most liberal admirers are those of James Buchanan, 
Ronald Coase, Douglass North, and Robert Lucas, and the least liberal admirers are 
those of Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Akerlof. 

The top 17 under-60 living economists are shown in Figure 4, and the top 23 
under-60 living economists are listed in Table 6, along with associated party-voting 
and liberalism scores. Paul Ivrugman leads by a long ways. As for liberty-oriented 


137 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 





























ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


economists, the results might raise the questions: Is there a Milton Friedman on the 
horizon? And: If not, why not? Some answers are suggested by Klein (2009). 

Figure 4:17 Favorite Living economists under Age 60 


350 



VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


138 




DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 6: 23 Favorite Living economists under Age 60, with 
Respondent Political Variables 




N 

Mentions 

% of 299 

Total Points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

Krugman, Paul 

60 

20.1% 

338 

12.4 

1.74 (0.55) 

2 

Mankiw, Greg 

22 

7.4% 

123 

1.7 

2.72 (0.60) 

3 

Acemoglu, Daron 

22 

7.4% 

114 

2.9 

2.51 (0.74) 

4 

Levitt, Steve 

20 

6.7% 

105 

0.8 

2.51 (0.54) 

5 

Card, David 

10 

3.3% 

52 

7.3 

1.89 (0.22) 

6 

Easterly, William 

9 

3.0% 

46 

0.7 

3.05 (0.91) 

7 

Glaeser, Edward 

8 

2.7% 

42 

1.4 

2.01 (0.76) 

8 

Galbraith, James K. 

8 

2.7% 

41 

70.0 

1.18 (0.34) 

9 

Folbre, Nancy 

7 

2.3% 

38 

66.7 

1.40 (0.38) 

10 

List, John 

7 

2.3% 

36 

1.4 

2.43 (0.80) 

11 

Bernanke, Ben 

7 

2.3% 

35 

2.7 

2.42 (0.79) 

12 

Tirole, Jean 

6 

2.0% 

32 

3.6 

2.53 (0.49) 

13 

Poterba, James 

6 

2.0% 

31 

0.7 

2.68 (0.72) 

14 

Rodrik, Dani 

5 

1.7% 

27 

40.0 

1.78 (0.45) 

15 

Frank, Robert 

5 

1.7% 

26 

2.7 

1.91 (0.23) 

16 

Cowen, Tyler 

5 

1.7% 

25 

1.0 

3.09 (1.14) 

17 

Krueger, Alan 

5 

1.7% 

25 

3.6 

2.08 (0.61) 

18 

Shleifer, Andrei 

4 

1.3% 

22 

0.9 

3.59 (0.68) 

19 

Murphy, Kevin 

4 

1.3% 

21 

0.0 

3.14 (0.32) 

20 

Rabin, Matthew 

4 

1.3% 

19 

1.8 

2.15 (0.18) 

21 

Fehr, Ernst 

4 

1.3% 

18 

1.6 

2.37 (1.25) 

22 

Gruber, Jonathan 

4 

1.3% 

17 

2.7 

2.27 (0.76) 

23 

Sachs, Jeffrey 

4 

1.3% 

17 

40.0 

1.98 (0.71) 


Only five economists have at least ten mentions. Of those five, the admirers 
of Greg Mankiw are most liberal, and the admirers of Paul Krugman are the least 
liberal (and remarkably preponderantly Democratic). 


139 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


























ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


Economics Professors’ Favorite Economics 

Journals 

List the three economics journals (broadly defined) that you read most 
avidly when a new issue appears: 

First: American f: conomic Revieio 

Second: J’ourn at oft: conomic Per% pec-fives 

Third: v/eer/ia./ o-f Po/i-fica! £~ cone my 

The top 14 journals are shown in Figure 5, and the top 33 journals are listed 
in Table 7, along with associated party-voting and liberalism scores. 

Figure 5:14 Favorite Economics Journals 



VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


140 



DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 7: 33 Favorite Economics Journals, with Respondent 
Political Variables 





Mentions 






N 

% of 299 

Total 

points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

American Ec. Rev. 

111 

37.1% 

598 

2.6 

2.31 (0.63) 

2 

J. of Ec. Perspectives 

77 

25.8% 

399 

2.5 

2.22 (0.67) 

3 

J. of Political Economy 

40 

13.4% 

195 

2.3 

2.45 (0.56) 

4 

J. of Ec. Literature 

35 

11.7% 

173 

3.7 

2.30 (0.67) 

5 

Econometrica 

24 

8.0% 

124 

2.8 

2.11 (0.54) 

6 

Quarterly J. of Ec. 

25 

8.4% 

124 

7.9 

2.23 (0.57) 

7 

J. of Labor Ec. 

17 

5.7% 

91 

1.8 

2.50 (0.80) 

8 

J. of Ec. Issues 

11 

3.7% 

62 

90.0 

1.62 (0.77) 

9 

J. of Human Resources 

12 

4.0% 

59 

4.8 

2.20 (0.57) 

10 

The Economist 

11 

3.7% 

57 

1.8 

2.02 (0.66) 

11 

J. of Urban Ec. 

9 

3.0% 

49 

1.7 

2.07 (0.61) 

12 

National Tax J. 

9 

3.0% 

45 

0.8 

2.57 (0.71) 

13 

J. of Ec. History 

8 

2.7% 

44 

0.7 

2.90 (0.50) 

14 

Rev. of Ec. and Statistics 

9 

3.0% 

41 

6.4 

2.34 (0.75) 

15 

American J. of Agricultural Ec. 

7 

2.3% 

38 

60.0 

2.18 (0.54) 

16 

J. of Environmental and Ec. 
Management 

7 

2.3% 

36 

60.0 

1.84 (0.29) 

17 

Cambridge J. of Ec. 

6 

2.0% 

34 

50.0 

1.25 (0.21) 

18 

Ec. Inquiry 

7 

2.3% 

33 

3.4 

2.32 (0.94) 

19 

History of Political Economy 

6 

2.0% 

33 

1.0 

2.62 (0.96) 

20 

Public Choice 

6 

2.0% 

32 

0.0 

3.08 (0.75) 

21 

Rand J. of Ec. 

6 

2.0% 

32 

1.8 

2.43 (0.85) 

22 

J. of Ec. Behavior and 
Organization 

5 

1.7% 

29 

3.6 

2.15 (0.92) 

23 

J. of Sports Ec. 

6 

2.0% 

29 

0.7 

2.33 (0.73) 

24 

J. of Money, Credit, and 

Banking 

6 

2.0% 

28 

2.7 

2.4 (0.69) 

25 

J. of Public Ec. 

7 

2.3% 

28 

2.4 

2.44 (0.75) 

26 

Feminist Ec. 

5 

1.7% 

27 

46.7 

1.14 (0.19) 

27 

J. of International Ec. 

6 

2.0% 

25 

60.0 

1.81 (0.63) 

28 

J. of Management Education 

5 

1.7% 

25 

30.0 

1.91 (0.41) 

29 

Independent Rev. 

4 

1.3% 

21 

0.0 

3.94 (0.12) 

30 

J. of History of Ec. Thought 

4 

1.3% 

21 

0.3 

2.47 (0.76) 

31 

J. of Development Ec. 

4 

1.3% 

20 

30.0 

2.10 (0.43) 

32 

Southern Ec. J. 

4 

1.3% 

19 

0.5 

2.80 (1.25) 

33 

J. of Post Keynesian Ec. 

4 

1.3% 

18 

40.0 

1.19 (0.11) 


141 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 




































ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


Economics Professors’ Favorite Economics Blogs 


Do you occasionally or regularly read any economics blogs? If so, what 
are your top 3 favorite economics blogs: 

X I do read. Here are the top three (listing fewer than 
three is OK). 

First: £rre§ Ma.n£iuJ 
Second: Margin a./ Revo/u-ficn 
Third: Pea// tZ.rv^ma.n 

_ I do not read any economics blogs. 

Blogs are now a major form of expression and discussion, and surely the 
timeliest form. While we show the results in Figure 6 and Table 8, it should be 
born in mind that even the top mentioned blog, Greg Mankiw’s, received only 41 
mentions (of 299 respondents). It appears that most economists do not make a 
habit of reading economics blogs. 


Figure 6:15 Favorite Economics Blogs 

250 



VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


142 



DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Table 8: 15 Favorite Economics Blogs, with Respondent 
Political Variables 




N 

Mentions 

% of 299 

Total points 

Party ratio 

Ave. lib. 
score (s.d.) 

1 

Mankiw, Greg 

41 

13.7% 

229 

1.2 

2.65 (0.61) 

2 

Marginal Revolution 

38 

12.7% 

208 

0.9 

2.96 (0.74) 

3 

Krugman, Paul 

24 

8.0% 

126 

20.0 

2.02 (0.51) 

4 

DeLong, J. Bradford 

20 

6.7% 

103 

5.2 

2.08 (0.54) 

5 

Freakonomics 

14 

4.7% 

70 

3.6 

2.44 (0.58) 

6 

Becker, Posner 

11 

3.7% 

58 

0.6 

3.13 (0.59) 

7 

EconLog 

11 

3.7% 

55 

0.2 

3.26 (0.52) 

8 

Coordination Problem 

5 

1.7% 

26 

0.9 

3.61 (0.56) 

9 

The Economist’s View 

5 

1.7% 

26 

50 

1.73 (0.21) 

10 

Voxeu 

5 

1.7% 

25 

3.6 

1.81 (0.68) 

11 

Cafe Hayek 

5 

1.7% 

24 

0.0 

3.2 (0.72) 

12 

Environmental Economics 

4 

1.3% 

22 

40.0 

1.96 (0.43) 

13 

Baseline Scenario 

4 

1.3% 

21 

30.0 

2.12 (0.76) 

14 

Hamilton, James 

4 

1.3% 

21 

1.8 

2.37 (0.73) 

15 

Rodrik, Dani 

4 

1.3% 

19 

20.0 

1.65 (0.54) 


Of those with at least 11 mentions, we see that most liberal admirers are 
those of EconLog, Becker-Posner, and Marginal Revolution, and the least liberal 
admirers are those of J. Bradford DeLong and Paul Krugman (also, again we see 
that Krugman admirers are remarkably preponderantly Democratic). 

Table 9 compares economists who read blogs and those who do not. We 
were surprised to find that the readers of blogs are older than the non-readers. They 
are also more liberal. 


Table 9: Readers and Non-readers of Blogs, Age and 
Political Variables 



N 

% of 299 

Ave. age 

Median Age 

Party ratio 

Average 
liberalism 
score (s.d.) 

I do read blogs 

133 

44.0% 

62.1 

65 

2.04 

2.45 (0.76) 

I do not read blogs 

156 

52.0% 

56.7 

55 

2.56 

2.12 (0.73) 

No response 

10 

3.0% 

49.4 

43 

0.73 

2.33 (0.88) 

All 

299 

100.0% 

58.9 

58 

2.23 

2.27 (0.76) 


143 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 























ECONOMIST FAVORITES 


Concluding Remark 

Michael Polanyi (1959) wrote: “We need reverence to perceive greatness, 
even as we need a telescope to observe spiral nebulae” (96). Asking economists 
whom they revere or admire provides a basis for characterizing them, for it tells us 
toward whom they direct that special telescope, and to what characterizations of 
greatness they are most attuned. 

Appendices 

At the survey homepage (link), one can download the survey instrument 
(link), the cover letter that accompanied the survey (link), the follow-up postcard 
(link), the listing of 300 economics departments (link), and data (in Excel) 
displayed in this paper (link). 


References 

Coupe, Tom. Undated. Revealed Performance: World Wide Rankings of 
Economics Departments and Economists: 1969-2000. Mimeo, ECARES. 
Universite Libre de Bruxelles. Link 

Grijalva, Therese, and Clifford Nowell. 2008. A Guide to Graduate Study in 
Economics: Ranking Economics Departments by Fields of Expertise. South¬ 
ern EconomicJournal! 4(4): 971-996. 

Hedengren, David, Daniel B. Klein, and Carrie Milton. 2010. Economist 
Petitions: Ideology Revealed. Econ Journal Watch 7(3): 288-319. Link 

Klein, Daniel B. 2009. A Milton Friedman on the Horizon? (Blog post.) Coor¬ 
dination Problem August 30. Link 

Klein, Daniel B., and Charlotta Stern. 2009. By the Numbers: The Ideological 
Profile of Professors. In The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and 
Reforms, ed. Robert Maranto, Richard Redding, and Frederick Hess, Amer¬ 
ican Enterprise Institute, 2009:15-33. Link 

Klein, Daniel B., and Michael J. Clark. 2010. Direct and Overall Liberty: Areas 
and Extent of Disagreement. Reason Papers 32:41-66. Link 

May, Ann Mari, and Robert F. Whaples. 2010. Are Disagreements among Male 
and Female Economists Marginal at Best? Unpub. ms. 

Norrander, Barbara, and Clyde Wilcox. 2008. The Gender Gap in Ideology. 
PoliticalBehavior 30(4 ): 503-523. 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 


144 


DAVIS, FIGGINS, HEDENGREN, AND KLEIN 


Polanyi, Michael. 1959. The Study of Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
Stastny, Daniel. 2010. Czech Economists on Economic Policy: A Survey. Econ 
Journal Watch 7(3): 275-287. Link 


About the Authors 

William L. Davis is Professor of Economics at the University 
of Tennessee at Martin where he has taught undergraduate and 
graduate courses for the last 22 years and currently serves as the 
managing editor for the Journal of business and Economic 
Perspectives. During his tenure at UT he has been a member of 
the Editorial Review Board for the University of Tennessee 
Press for many years and was past Director of Graduate 
Programs in Business Administration. He has been a visiting 
research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research in Great 
Barrington, Massachusetts, and has received research grants from the Tennessee 
Valley Authority, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and Kerr McGee Oil 
Company and other organizations. His articles have appeared in various social 
science and economics journals on topics ranging from drug prohibition to 
education reform. He earned his Ph.D in economics at Oklahoma State University. 
His email is wdavis@utm.edu. 

Bob Figgins is Professor of Economics at the University of 
Tennessee at Martin where he has taught economics courses 
for the last 40 years. He served as Chairman of the Economics 
and Finance Department up until four years ago when he 
returned to a full-time teaching/research assignment with the 
university. For 35 years Dr. Figgins has been Senior Editor of 
the Journal of business and Economic Perspectives. Currently Iris 
research interests include public policy effectiveness and 
economic development. He earned his Ph.D in Economics at the University of 
Arkansas at Fayetteville. His email is bfiggins@utm.edu. 




145 


VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, MAY 2011 






ECONOMIST FAVORITES 



David Hedengren is a PhD student at George Mason 
University where he is a recipient of the Walter E. Williams 
fellowship. His interests include economic history and applied 
econometrics. His email is davehedengren@gmail.com. 



Daniel Klein is professor of economics at George Mason 
University, fellow of the Ratio Institute, and chief editor of 
Econ Journal Watch. 


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